Welcome to my site!

Welcome to my site!
I'm Cindy, and I love to cook! And, I love to eat... hence the size of my rear end! I come from a long line of cooks. My great great Grandmother was a cook in the original Harvey Houses. My grandmother Julia was an awesome cook, and my mom was incredible. I owe my skills to these great women. Especially my Mom who said this to me about making gravy... "Cindy Lynn, wallpaper paste is wallpaper paste & gravy is gravy. Never the two shall meet!" Shall we say my first experience at making gravy left a little bit to be desired! Thank the high heavens my cooking skills have improved since then! Enjoy!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Black Eyed Peas

Any southerner "worth their salt" will tell you that eating black-eyed peas on New Years Day brings good luck and prosperity to the new year! I've been eating black-eyed peas on New Years Day for most of my life. My Grandma Maurine was from Alabama, and she made sure to teach me the traditions of the south. Although Grandma wasn't the best of cooks, this was one dish she knew how to make quite well - this and Southern Green Beans. (Click here for the recipe.)


1 bag of black eyed peas (soaked according to package directions)
1 lb of bacon, chopped into bite sized pieces **
1 white onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbls Old Bay seasoning
6 - 8 cups of water
1 Chicken Bouillon cube

** Note: I normally use a couple of ham hocks and some chunks of ham. Decided to try using bacon this time. It's just as good.

1. Heat a soup pot over flame. Add bits of bacon and fry until it begins to brown. Drain some of the grease, but leave a little for flavor.
2. Add garlic and onion to bacon, continue stirring until onions become translucent. Add a little bit of the water to de-glaze the pan. Add drained black-eyed peas; stir to combine.
3. Add enough water to cover the peas, with about 1" to spare. Add the bouillon cube and Old Bay seasoning.
4. Cook uncovered until mixture comes to a boil. Lower heat and place a lid on pot, but leave it slightly ajar. Cook stirring often for approximately 2 hours. Continue checking that there is enough water. Do not let the beans go dry before they are cooked through.
5. Remove lid and continue cooking until the peas are less soupy. This should be the consistency of chili, not soup.
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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fantasy Fudge

I have been using this recipe for fudge since... well, since forever! I got it SO many years ago from the label of Kraft Marshmallow Creme. When my dear hubby did the shopping for me last week, I didn't specify Kraft, so he got me the store brand. Therefore, I don't know if they still publish this recipe on the back of their jars. This makes the most perfect fudge that turns out excellent every time. I don't think I've ever had a batch that turned out less than perfect.


3 cups white sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter or margarine
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla
12 oz chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans this time. I've used peanuts & walnuts as well)
1 jar marshmallow creme


1. Combine sugar, butter and evaporated milk in a saucepan. Cook stirring constantly until mixture comes to a rolling boil.
Continue cooking, stirring constantly, for five minutes.

2. Remove from heat, add chocolate chips, vanilla, marshmallow creme, and nuts. Beat until well blended.

3. Pour into greased pan - approx 7 x 11. (can use butter or Pam to prepare the pan)
Let harden and cut into bite size pieces.

Note: In the past, I have substituted peanut butter chips for the chocolate chips and added chopped peanuts to make peanut butter fudge too! Delish!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Divinity Fudge

So the story goes like this... My Grandma Maurine absolutely LOVED Divinity Fudge. But, being the less that perfect cook that she was, she didn't have a lot of success when making it. My Mom and Dad could always tell when she had attempted to make Divinity, because they would come home to cupcakes or cake with the divinity used as the frosting. Poor Grandma!

Here's a recipe that is sure to please - and turn out successfully.


2 cups sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 jar of marshmallow cream
1 cup chopped nuts (I used almonds this time, but have used walnuts and pecans in the past)
1 tsp vanilla


Cook the milk and sugar in saucepan until candy thermometer reaches 238 degrees. Stir frequently to avoid the sugar burning.

Remove from heat. Add marshmallow cream; let cool to 180 degrees.

Add chopped nuts and vanilla. Beat together and pour into an 8 x 8 greased pan. You can use butter or non stick spray in the pan.

Let harden and cut into bite sized pieces. YUM!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Creamed Corn

Most of us have eaten creamed corn from a can. Many of us love it and some of us don't. I happen to fall into the "don't" category. Whether you like creamed corn from the can, or not, I do believe you will thoroughly enjoy this recipe for homemade creamed corn. Many years ago there was a restaurant in Marina Del Rey, California called Gulliver's. They served really wonderful prime rib, Yorkshire pudding and creamed corn. This was their recipe - and it has become a family tradition for us at Thanksgiving. It is sweet and creamy and delectable. I think you should give it try. It's "delish"!

Ingredients -
(you can cut this recipe in half for a smaller crowd)

2 – 20oz packages of frozen corn
½ pint whipping cream
½ pint whole milk
1 tsp salt
½ tsp Accent
4 Tbls flour
Dash of white pepper
3 Tbls butter
8 tsp sugar

Directions -

Put corn in a saucepan. Add milk, cream, salt, accent, pepper and sugar. Cook until it comes to a full boil.

In a small saucepan melt the butter and add flour. Mix well. If it’s too pasty add some of the milk from the corn. You want this mixture to be thin enough that you can easily add it to the corn mixture.

Mix everything together well; continue cooking for an additional 10 – 15 minutes.

The corn mixture is best when thick. If you need to thicken the mixture, melt a little more butter and add some flour to it. Also, you can add some additional sugar if you would like the corn to be sweeter.

I like to make this the day before we serve it, because it tastes better the second day.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sweet Potato Medley

For many families Candied Yams with Marshmallows is a Thanksgiving tradition. I grew up with that dish - and it was one of my dad's favorites. However, I was never too keen on yams from a can. Even if they're prepared fresh - that just isn't one of the dishes I crave at Thanksgiving.
Here is a different twist on yams or sweet potatoes. They are creamy and buttery with a hint of sweet and maple that will make your mouth water! I promise you will not regret giving this dish a try at Thanksgiving - or any time!


5 or 6 medium sized yams – I used garnet this time. I try to find yams that are not too big in diameter, as I want them to be sweet and tender. I have used sweet potatoes as well. Whatever your preference.
1 large acorn squash
1 lb bag of baby carrots
1 cube of butter
¾ cup of brown sugar
2 tsp of salt
¼ cup of maple syrup (real maple syrup is best - but I've used Mrs. Butterworth or Log Cabin too)


Slice the squash in half, scoop out seeds, and place upside down on cookie sheet covered with foil. Bake at 350 for approximately one hour, or until tender.

Peel and cube the yams. Place into a steamer with the carrots. Steam until they are tender. Approximately 45 minutes.

After everything is cooked and steamed, mash together until well blended. I usually use my ricer in order to achieve a very fine consistency and not have any small chunks of carrots. This also helps to take out some of the "strings" present in the yams/sweet potatoes.

Add the butter, brown sugar, salt and maple syrup. Whip with electric mixer until well blended and creamy.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cranberry Relish

Yum! Thanksgiving! Truly the best meal of the year - if you ask me. As I prepare some of the side dishes for our feast this week, I will be sharing the recipes with you. I got this recipe about 15 years ago from a tv show. I sure can't remember which one now... but this recipe has never failed to elicit raves. My dad loved Thanksgiving too, but he was a "jellied cranberry sauce from the can" kinda guy - however, I think he would have really enjoyed this. Happy Turkey Day Everyone!


1 large orange, peeled and chopped
1 medium green apple, peeled and chopped
½ medium white onion, finely chopped
2 cups whole fresh cranberries (I use the whole 12oz package, which is slightly more than 2cups)
½ c water
½ c sugar
1 – 16 oz can Jellied Cranberry Sauce
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
½ tsp nutmeg


1. Place everything, except spices, in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

2. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, add spices, and simmer until mixture thickens.

3. Stir occasionally. Should be cooked in approximately 30 minutes.

4. Let cool. Will keep in the fridge for several days.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Italian Sausage and Peppers

Mmm Mmm Good! Italian Sausage and Peppers are just the yummiest of treats. And, they're so easy to make! You can eat them on a nice crusty roll for a delicious Sausage and Pepper sandwich - or you could enjoy them with some pasta - or the way we eat them most often is completely on their own. They are so full of flavor and perfect as a meal or snack. Enjoy!


10 – 12 mild Italian Sausage, cut into bite size pieces (approx 6 pieces per sausage)
5 sweet peppers, seeded and chunky chopped. I like to use a combination of red, green and yellow peppers.
2 white onions, chunky chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
15 oz. can of tomato sauce


Place the sausage, peppers, onions and garlic in a big roasting pan. Put the pan in a 350 oven. Bake for 1 hour, stirring after 30 minutes.

Add the can of tomato sauce, and one can of water. Stir and place back in oven for another hour, stirring after 30 minutes.

The sausage should be tender, and the peppers, onions and tomato sauce should cook down to make a nice sauce. I usually think they are done anywhere from 2 to 2 ½ hours.

Note: If you prefer to use Turkey Italian Sausage, it works just fine and is equally as delicious. However, because there is less fat in the turkey sausage, you may want to drizzle with a little olive oil before placing in the oven.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

And the winner is...

The Blog Friends Forever award was given to me by Jill of Salem Daily Photo. Thanks very much Jill. You honor me!

Now, it is my turn to pass the award onto five other bloggers according to following rules:

1. Only five people are allowed
2. Four have to be dedicated followers of your blog
3. One has to be someone new or recently new to your blog and live in another part of the world. (Can that include another part of the U.S.?? I sure hope so Jill, because I don't have anyone that I am aware of that is from a different country. Many visit, but no one has left comments!)
4. You must link back to whoever gave you the award

Here are my choices upon whom I am bestowing this wonderful award:

The Jason Show
Mrs. Lincoln

Happy Blogging!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Red Beans and Rice

Traditionally Red Beans and Rice were served in New Orleans on Monday. This is because Monday was wash day, and the women could place the pot of red beans on the stove in the morning and let them cook all day while they did the laundry.
As far as I'm concerned, any day is a good day for this dish! Nothing better than a flavorful pot of Red Beans with Andouille Sausage served over rice.


1 pkg of Red Beans
1 Tbls olive oil
1 white onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
Chopped fresh parsley, about 1 handful
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbls Tony Chachere’s seasoning
14 – 16 oz Andouille Sausage, sliced into rounds (If you cannot get andouille, you could use a kielbasa)
1 ham hock
1 quart of chicken broth
1 ½ cup water
Cooked long grain white rice


Prepare the red beans. Soak overnight in water. Or, you can use the fast prep method described on the package. Do not use canned red beans. This recipe requires the long cooking time.
Whichever method of preparing the beans you choose, make sure to drain the soaking water completely and rinse the beans. It is said that disposing of this water will help reduce the amount of flatulence you get when eating beans.
Prepare the bell pepper, parsley, onion and garlic.

Heat the oil in a soup pot. (Make sure that you use a large enough pot so that there is room for the beans to boil for a prolonged period of time. The blue pot in my picture below was not large enough. I ended up having to transfer the mixture to a larger pot.)

Add the garlic to the oil and cook until it starts to sizzle. Be careful not to let it burn. Add onions to the pot and cook until translucent.

Add the bell pepper and parsley to the pot. Cook until the vegetables wilt.

Add the beans, chicken broth and water to the pot. Add the ham hock.
Bring to a boil. Add the Andouille sausage and the Tony's to the pan. Lower heat to a simmer. Cook until the beans are tender and then mixture has thickened. This will take about 3 - 4 hours.
Serve the Red Beans over hot white rice. You can adjust the amount of Tony's up or down depending upon your taste. I actually added a bit more to my recipe - but I like my red beans spicy.
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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thai Red Curry Chicken

Do you have a Trader Joe's near you? If so, this is a very quick, easy and most importantly TASTY meal. It's perfect for a night where you don't really feel like cooking - don't have a lot of time to cook - or just don't know what to make for dinner. I always have a bottle or two of this on my pantry shelf. It's truly fantastic - and as full flavored as it is, I doubt anyone would guess that it came from a bottle!


1 bottle of Trader Joes Thai Red Curry Sauce
2 lbs of boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces
Cooked long grain rice
If desired, 1 white onion chopped (I don’t use the onion because my son prefers this with just the chicken and sauce)
1 Tbls Olive Oil
1 tsp Cumin Powder


1. Heat oil in non stick skillet.

2. If using onion, add onion to skillet and cook until translucent.

3. Add chicken to skillet; sprinkle with cumin powder. Cook until the chicken is cooked through and beginning brown.

4. Add the Trader Joes Thai Red Curry Sauce. Continue to cook until sauce is bubbling.

5. Serve chicken over cooked long grain white rice.

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Monday, October 6, 2008

Mediterranean Chicken and Orzo

This is a surprisingly easy and tasty recipe. For the amount of flavor contained in it, you would think it would take a huge amount of time to prepare. I love orzo, and the addition of the lemon and oregano to this dish makes me feel like I'm enjoying it on the Mediterranean. I've adapted it from the "Flat Belly Diet Cookbook", which is based on the Mediterranean diet and incorporates a lot of monounsaturated fats into your diet in order to make you feel more satisfied with less food. (Serves 4)


2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, slice in half lengthwise to make them half the thickness
Garlic Salt
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp olive oil
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup orzo
1 lemon, peeled and cut into chunks (try to remove as many seeds as possible)
20 pitted kalamata olives, rough chop
1 cup of marinated artichoke hearts, drained and cut into quarters
2 cups baby spinach
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
½ cup sliced roasted red pepper (I use jarred, but you could roast a fresh red pepper in the oven)
½ cup crumbled feta cheese


1. Pat the chicken breasts dry; sprinkle with garlic salt and oregano

2. Heat a nonstick skillet; add olive oil

3. Place chicken breasts into skillet; cook for 7 minutes turning once. Don’t overcook, but make sure they aren’t still pink in the middle. Remove to a plate.

4. Add the orzo to the pan; stir gently; add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add the lemon; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the orzo is tender.

5. Stir in the olives, tomato, red pepper, spinach and artichoke hearts. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring to heat through. Sprinkle with feta cheese.
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Monday, September 29, 2008

Indian Spinach with Cheese (Saag Paneer)

This dish is from North India, and it can also be made with cooked diced potatoes instead of the homemade cheese.


1 recipe homemade cheese (recipe to follow)
Vegetable oil for frying the cheese
2 medium onions
½ piece of fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic
4 Tbls vegetable oil
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 bay leaf
1” stick cinnamon
2 whole cloves
4 Tbls sour cream
20 oz frozen chopped spinach, cooked & drained
½ cup water
Salt to taste
¼ tsp cayenne pepper, or more if desired
½ cup whipping cream


Dice the cheese into ¾” cubes. Warm the oil for frying over medium heat. Gently fry the cheese cubes until lightly browned on all sides. (Can be deep fried if you prefer. But I like using less oil). Drain the cheese on paper towels and set aside

In a food processor mince the onions, ginger and garlic together.

In a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat, warm the 4 Tbls oil. Add the cumin, bay leaf, cinnamon and cloves. When the spices darken, about 1 to 2 seconds, add the minced onion mixture. Reduce the heat to low and sauté until the onions are golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the sour cream and mix well.

Place the spinach and water into the container of a blender and blend to a smooth puree. Add to the onion mixture.

Add the salt, cayenne and cheese cubes and toss gently with the spinach. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add the whipping cream and mix lightly. Heat through and serve.

Recipe for Cheese –

2 quarts milk
2 to 3 Tbls lemon juice

Bring the milk to a boil in a heavy pan. Add the lemon juice and stir until the curds rise to the top and clear liquid remains. Turn off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes.

Line a sieve with 3 layers of cheesecloth and pour the curdled milk through it. Save the clear liquid (whey) for use in soups, sauces or for making rice.

Gather up the ends of the cheesecloth to form a pouch and tie it to the faucet over the kitchen sink. Twist the cloth lightly and squeeze out the excess liquid. Let the pouch hang for about 30 minutes.

Transfer cheese to a cutting board and shape into a patty approximately 4” wide by ½” thick. Fill a large pot with water and place it over the pouch to compress it. Leave it for about 2 hours.
The cheese is now ready to use. Remove the cheesecloth and cover with plastic wrap.

Note: In order to cut down on prep time, I generally make the cheese a day or two before I make the Saag Paneer.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Garbanzo Beans in Spicy Sauce (Chana Masala)

I absolutely LOVE Indian food. I was raised on it, as we were very good friends with a Punjabi family. They were Sikh’s, and we participated in many Sikh festivals and weddings. When I eat Indian food, I relive many of the memories of my childhood. Unfortunately, my city does not have a good Indian restaurant – at least in my opinion. So, I make my own. I’ve been cooking Indian food for about 25 years. I have recipes that I’ve created, recipes that I learned from our friends, and quite a few good Indian cookbooks. This recipe is from the “Indian Recipes for a Healthy Heart”, from the kitchen of Mrs. Lakhani. I was told by a friend that the garbanzo bean is considered the perfect food. So, here’s a wonderful way to enjoy them, perfectly!

Ingredients (serves 4 as a side dish)

15 ½ oz can of garbanzo beans (chick peas)
1 Tbls canola oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 cup onions, finely diced
2 tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp garam masala *
½ tsp salt
2 tsp garlic, minced
2 tsp ginger, minced
1 cup water
3 Tbls tomato paste
1 tsp lemon juice
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional – can use more or less depending upon your taste)

For Garnish (I don’t usually add the garnish, but it is very good with it)
1 green chili, seeded and chopped
½ cup onions, sliced
1 cup tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup cilantro, chopped


1. Rinse garbanzo beans in cold water and drain.
2. In a saucepan, heat oil and fry cumin seeds for a few seconds. Add onions and fry until they brown.
3. Lower heat. Add coriander, turmeric, garam masala, salt, garlic and ginger. Mix and cook for 30 seconds, stirring all the time.
4. Add 1 cup water and tomato paste. Mix and bring to boil.
5. Add garbanzo beans, lemon juice and cayenne. Mix well, cover and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes, or until the garbanzo beans are soft. Stir occasionally. If the mixture gets too dry, add a little water.
6. Serve and use garnish if desired.

*Garam masala can be made fresh, or can be purchased from an Indian grocer. It contains many spices and is usually added about 15 – 20 minutes before cooking is finished. Click here to view one recipe that I found on the internet. However, for convenience sake, I have always purchased the ready-made garam masala.

Monday, September 15, 2008

White Chocolate Martini

I found this recipe for a decadent White Chocolate Martini on the Revver website. Click here to watch a short video on how it is made. All I can say is WOW! This is delicious... They go down very easy and are a wonderful sweet ending to any meal. Desert anyone??


1 oz vanilla vodka
1 oz white chocolate liqueur
1/2 oz white creme de cocoa
1 oz half & half
chocolate syrup


1. Freeze a martini glass; drizzle chocolate syrup around sides to form a pretty pattern; return to freezer.

2. Add crushed ice to a cocktail shaker

3. Add vodka, white choclate liqueur and creme de coca; shake well.

4. Add half and half, and swirl in shaker. Do not shake - as it will cause the half and half to foam

5. Pour into prepared martini glass; lightly drizzle chocolate syrup on top to form a pattern; garnish with cherries if desired; ENJOY!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Albondigas Soup

My new friend Patricia gave me some guidance on how to make Albondigas soup. This is what I came up with… probably not truly authentic – but I think it turned out really good. Enjoy!

Soup Ingredients

2 Tbls olive oil
2 medium white onions, chopped
2 cans ready cut tomatoes (14.5 oz)
1 can tomato sauce (15oz)
3 jalapenos seeded and finely chopped (if you prefer a spicier soup – keep some of the seeds. If you prefer a less spicy soup, use less jalapeno)
5 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 Tbls cumin powder
1 tsp salt
2 quarts chicken broth (I like organic free range chicken broth)
1 lb bag of baby carrots cut crosswise in half for bite size pieces
1 head of celery hearts, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 bunch of cilantro

Meatball Ingredients

1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb ground pork
1 cup cooked white rice
Handful of fresh spearmint leaves, finely chopped
2 tsp cumin powder
3/4 tsp salt


Thoroughly mix all of the meatball ingredients together in a large bowl.

Heat olive oil in large soup pot; add onions and cook for approximately 5 minutes.

Add the jalapenos, garlic, salt and cumin powder to onions. Continue cooking for several more minutes.

Add the cans of tomatoes and tomato sauce to pan. Cook until bubbling. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat on soup. Form meat mixture into meatballs and drop into hot soup. Add carrots and celery. Continue cooking for approximately 1 hour until meatballs are cooked through and vegetables are tender.

Add chopped cilantro and cook for 5 minutes more.

Serve and enjoy. I think this would go well with warmed tortillas or nice chunk of bread.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Chapchae is the most popular noodle dish in Korea. I adapted this recipe from my favorite source, Cooking Light 2004 cookbook. It’s a little more labor intensive than most of the recipes I’ve posted – but it’s so tasty and well worth the extra work.

1 Tbls cornstarch
8 oz eye of round steak, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 Tbls soy sauce, I like low-sodium
2 tsp Thai curry paste
2 tsp fresh minced ginger
1 tsp dark sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced

Place beef in a bowl and sprinkle cornstarch over it; toss to combine. Add remaining ingredients; toss well to coat. Cover and set aside while preparing other ingredients. Can marinate anywhere from 15 – 60 minutes.

3.75 oz package uncooked bean threads (cellophane noodles)

Pour boiling water over noodles; let stand for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse well with cold water. Drain. Snip noodles several times with kitchen shears in order to shorten the length making it easier to too add to beef/vegetable mixture and for serving.

Sauce Ingredients:
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 Tbls brown sugar
1 Tbls rice vinegar
1 Tbls dark sesame oil
Optional: 1 Tbls sesame seeds, toasted to be sprinkled over finished dish

Mix the liquid ingredients and set aside.

1 tsp dark sesame oil
1 tsp vegetable oil
½ tsp red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh minced ginger
3 cups of shitake mushrooms, sliced. (I use the dried variety and reconstitute in boiling water. But, if you can get or prefer fresh – that would be fantastic too!)
1 bunch of green onions, diagonally sliced into 2” pieces
1 cup julienned carrots, 2” pieces


Heat large nonstick skillet or wok coated with cooking spray over medium high heat. Add beef mixture; stir fry for 5 minutes – or until almost done. You don’t want to overcook as the beef will become tough. Remove mixture from pan. Cover and keep warm.

Add 1 tsp sesame oil & 1 tsp vegetable oil to pan. Add red pepper flakes, garlic and ginger; stir fry for 30 seconds. Add mushrooms, green onions and carrots; stir fry for 5 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium low; add beef mixture and noodles to pan, stirring well to combine.

Whisk the sauce mix to assure it is well combined; add to pan. Stir well to combine; cook for approximately 3 more minutes to warm through. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Pasta with Chicken

This is one of those creations that came about when I wasn't sure WHAT I was going to make for dinner. A little of this - a little of that - and viola! Dinner! Enjoy!


2 Tbls olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1” pieces
½ c Italian Seasoning Bread Crumbs
1 tsp seasoning salt
3 Tbls grated Parmesan Cheese
1 white onion chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans diced tomatoes, or Italian Stewed tomatoes (which is what I used this time)
Handful of chopped fresh basil
1 pkg cooked pasta – I used Penne Rigati, but you could use spaghetti, angel hair, linguine, farfalle, or rotini

Chopped basil for garnish
Shredded Parmesan for garnish
Salt & Pepper


1. Heat oil in large skillet or pan.

2. Combine bread crumbs, salt and parmesan in plastic bag. Add chicken and shake to coat.

3. Place chicken in heated oil, cook until browned on all sides. Remove from pan.

4. Add onion and garlic to pan. Cook until translucent. Add basil and tomatoes. Cook until well combined and most of liquid has evaporated.

5. Add cooked pasta to pan – along with ¼ to ½ cup of pasta water. Cook stirring until water evaporates and a thin sauce coats the pasta.

6. Salt and Pepper to taste.

7. Serve in individual bowls, garnish with basil and parmesan.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

ABC Wednesday - G is for...

... GRAPES ! Although these are not "real" grapes, I like the still-life I created and I had some fun adding some photo effects with spot light and frame.

Happy ABC Wednesday. If you would like to participate - or see other ABC Wednesday posts, click here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Rosemary Chicken with White Beans

This is another wonderful recipe from the Cooking Light cookbook. (2004 edition) It is one of my favorites. Full of flavor and relatively easy to make.

The cookbook suggests serving this with a spinach salad spiked with slivered red onions and drizzled with red wine vinaigrette. Yum!


2 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
8 skinless boneless chicken thighs (tonight I didn't want to take the time to bone the chicken, so I used whole thighs without the skin. Worked perfectly)
1 (14.5 oz) can stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 (15oz) can navy beans, drained and rinsed well
1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives


1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Combine rosemary, salt and pepper; sprinkle evenly over one side of the chicken.
3. Place chicken in pan, seasoned side down; cook 3 minutes. (if using bone in thighs, cook 10 minutes)
4. Add tomatoes and beans. Cover and simmer 10minutes, or until chicken is done.
5. Stir in olives.

Yield 4 servings - 2 thighs & 3/4 cup bean mixture.
316 Calories; 8.1 g Fat; 31.2g Protein; 30.2g Carbohydrate

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Asian Chicken with Broccoli

I've adapted this recipe from several different sources. It's quite good, at least my family and I think so! Wonderful Chicken & Broccoli in a spicy garlic sauce.

If you prefer different vegetables, or not as much garlic or spice, you can adapt this recipe to your liking. I prefer to keep it simple with the broccoli and onions... but you could add peppers, zucchini, carrots or celery too.


3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 heads of broccoli, washed and cut into bite size florets (plus or minus depending upon your taste)
1 white onion, sliced or chopped - depending upon your preference
2 Tbls Sesame Oil

Sauce Ingredients:

3 Tbls corn starch
1/2 c Sake (if you don't want to use the alcohol - substitute chicken broth)
1 Tbls crushed garlic
1 Tbls Chili Garlic sauce
6 Tbls soy sauce
6 Tbls Oyster sauce (I like to use the spicy type)
1 c Chicken broth

Cooked Rice


1. Thinly slice the chicken breasts diagonally, across the grain.

2. Place the cornstarch in a bowl; add sake & stir to combine. Add other sauce ingredients; mix well.

3. Heat oil in a large skillet or pan that has a lid. Add onions to heated pan and stir fry until they begin to wilt.

4. Add chicken and stir fry until the chicken just begins to cook.

5. Add broccoli (or other vegies if using). Give a stir and place lid on pan to allow broccoli to steam and chicken to finish cooking.

6. Remove lid and add sauce mix. Stir and cook until sauce thickens.

7. Serve over cooked rice.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Southern Green Beans

Some foods can instantly take you back to your childhood. This is one of those meals for me.

My Grandma Maurine was from Tuscaloosa Alabama. Unfortunately, she wasn't a very good cook, but this was one thing that she knew how to make really well. I remember snapping green beans with her when we were making this meal. I think of her, and warm summer afternoons whenever I make these fantastic Southern Green Beans, served over fluffy corn bread.


2 lbs. fresh green beans, trimmed and broken into 1” to 2” pieces
1 white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 chicken bouillon cubes
6 cups water
2 smoked ham hocks
5 or 6 small red rose potatoes cut into fourths

Salt and Pepper to taste

Optional: 12 oz package of Hormel chopped/cubed ham

Warm fresh corn bread


1. Place first six ingredients in large pot that has a fitted lid. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 ½ hours uncovered.

2. Add potatoes and chopped ham if using. Cover and continue to simmer for 1 ½ hours.

3. Serve green beans, potatoes and ham over a slice of warm cornbread. Make sure to use the juice from the pot to soak into the corn bread.

My Grandma always said the “pot liquor” was the best! I would say I have to completely agree!

Y'all enjoy now - ya hear!
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Monday, August 18, 2008

Red Wine for Ruby Tuesday

A warm summer evening, a glass of red wine, and my loved ones sitting around the deck enjoying each other's company. It's a beautiful day in Oregon! Happy Ruby Tuesday everyone!

Come join us in celebration of Ruby Tuesday. The rules are easy - you can post any picture that contains RED, whether it's a little bit of red - or alot! Click here to see other participating, and enjoy getting started too!


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Shrimp & Corn Chowder

Oh My! I got this recipe from my new friend, Christine, in New Orleans. She runs the GumboYaYaBaby blog. I knew the recipe sounded yummy, but when I tried it today - my expectations were so blown away. This is FANTASTIC. Christine's recipe calls for crawfish, which is not readily available in Oregon. So, I substituted shrimp. Get ready to have your socks knocked off by this very tasty chowder!


1 medium onion, chopped
1 bunch of green onions, sliced
1 bell pepper, chopped finely
1 lb. shrimp or if you can get them - crawfish tails
1 stick butter
2 bouillon cubes (I used Chicken, Christine uses Vegetable)
2 cans cream corn
4 cans cream of potato soup
1 qt. milk to thin
2 tsp Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
Salt, pepper to taste


1. Melt butter in large pan.

2. Saute onions & bell peppers in butter. Add 1 tsp of Tony’s.

3. Add shrimp or crawfish before onions are completely wilted. Stir to combine.

4. Add remaining ingredients, including second tsp. of Tony's.

5. Add more milk if necessary to thin.

6. Cook on low for about 20 minutes. Taste for seasonings. Add more salt, pepper & Tony's to taste.Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 15, 2008

Indian Curry Chicken

I have a huge love for India and Indian food. When I was growing up my family was very close friends with an Indian family, the Marwah’s. I so enjoyed going to parties and dinners at their home. I was raised on fantastic Indian meals. And, I crave them now on a regular basis. The only answer was to learn to cook the meals myself. I remember helping in the Marwah’s kitchen … and I’ve taught myself to cook those meals I remember from my childhood. The famous Indian chef Madhur Jaffrey has helped me immensely with her wonderful cookbooks. If you’re interested in Indian cooking, I highly recommend them. This is my own creation – blended from several recipes. “Namaste”!

This recipe makes a large amount. Like many Italian foods, I think Indian food is better the second day. So, I always make plenty for left overs. If you prefer, you can easily cut this recipe in half.


3 Tbls olive oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 white onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
15 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
2 tsp turmeric
1 ½ Tbls ground cumin
4 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp cayenne pepper, more or less depending on your taste
2 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
¼ cup water

1 Tbsp Garam Masala (Indian spice blend. I purchase mine already made, but you can make your own. recipe follows)

Cooked long grain white rice, preferably Basmati.


1. Place oil in large non stick skillet or pan that has a tight fitting lid. When oil is warm, add cumin seeds. Let sit until seeds begin to sputter. Be careful not to burn.

2. Add onions and garlic. Cook until onions begin to cook down. About 5 minutes

3. Add chicken thigh pieces. Add the remaining spices, except for Garam Masala.. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the outside of the chicken pieces begin to cook. About 15 to 20 minutes.

4. Add water. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and cover with lid.

5. Cook for approximately 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken is tender.

6. Remove lid, add Garam Masala.

7. Cook for 10 – 15 minutes more. If sauce needs thickening, you can add a little cornstarch mixed with cold water. Be careful not to get it too thick.

8. Serve Indian Chicken over rice.

Garam Masala Recipe

1 tbsp black pepper
1/4 cup coriander seeds
1 tsp seeds from green cardamom pods
1 one-inch stick of cinnamon


Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Dry roast the peppercorns, stirring frequently, about 3-4 minutes until aromatic. Turn out into a bowl. Repeat with the remaining spices, roasting one at a time until fragrant and stirring to prevent burning. Grind the spices to a powder in a spice mill or coffee grinder. Let the powder cool completely in a bowl then transfer to a jar, seal tightly, label and date. Store in a cool dark place for no more than 3 months.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Louisiana Dirty Rice

Well, like gumbo, I suppose everyone makes Dirty Rice differently. Here is my recipe. It is called "dirty rice" because you fry the rice in the same pan as the meat. It’s one of those quick and easy recipes that are great for a dinner when you don’t have a lot of time, or energy. Serve it with a salad for a well rounded meal, or as a side dish.


1Tbls. Olive Oil
1 white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 ½ lbs. ground beef – or ground turkey
1 ¼ cup white rice, uncooked
2 1/2 cup beef or chicken broth
4 tsp Spike Seasoning (no salt)
2 tsp Johnny’s Seasoning Salt
¼ tsp cayenne pepper, if you like spicy

Or, instead of the seasonings I have listed - you can use 1 - 2 Tbls of your favorite cajun spice.


Drizzle olive oil in large non-stick skillet or pot that has a fitted lid.
Add onion and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes.
Add meat and continue cooking until meat is cooked through. (Break meat into bite size pieces while cooking)
Add seasonings and stir until combined.
Add rice, and cook for several minutes. Add broth and cayenne, if using. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer until liquid is absorbed.
Serve up and enjoy the taste of the south!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Lemon Drop Cocktail

There is an Italian Restaurant in Portland, called Pazzo's. Great food and a wonderful cocktail called a Lemon Drop. I've created my own version which we enjoy on sultry summer days, and any time we want to "taste summer".

Ingredients: (serves 2)
3 oz. Citron Vodka
1 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1 oz simple syrup (recipe follows)
1 oz orange juice


Shake all in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Pour into two martini glasses that have been rimmed with sugar. Garnish with a lemon wedge or twist. YUM!

Simple Syrup Recipe
Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil in saucepan. Add 1 cup sugar. Continue cooking until sugar dissolves. Let cool to room temperature.
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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Nawlin's Gumbo

They say that everyone makes Gumbo differently. No two cooks gumbo will taste the same. Here's my recipe for Chicken and Sausage gumbo. It will make you want to dance a Fais-do-do!


Roux -
5 Tbls butter
5 Tbls flour

Vegetable Mixture -
1 large white onion, chopped
2 bell peppers, seeded and chopped
2 heads celery hearts, chopped (or one head of celery)
1Tbls olive oil
2 tsp Spike seasoning
1 tsp seasoning salt
4 cloves garlic, minced

Soup Mix -
6 chicken thighs, skin removed
6 mild Italian sausage, cut into chunks
2 Qts. Chicken broth
2 tsp Spike seasoning
1 tsp seasoning salt
2 tsp Kitchen Bouquet liquid seasoning

Cooked White Rice


Make a roux by melting butter in large soup pot; add flour and cook, stirring frequently, until roux turns the shade of peanut butter. Be careful to not let roux burn.

While roux is cooking, put olive oil in skillet, add onions, celery, bell pepper, garlic, Spike seasoning and seasoning salt. Cook until onion is translucent.

When roux is finished cooking, alternately add chicken broth to pot and whisk in between adding broth until all broth is combined into roux. Bring to a boil.

Add vegetable mixture, sausage, Spike, seasoning salt, and Kitchen Bouquet to liquid mixture. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Add chicken thighs to soup. Cover and cook for another hour.

Serve gumbo over a small serving of rice.

Oo, Mon Cher - Laisser les bons temps rouler! (Let the Good Times Roll!)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Peach Crisp

Some foods just taste of home. This is one of them. Warm Peach Crisp served over rich vanilla ice cream. What a great way to end a wonderful meal on a warm summer evening. Yum!

Ingredients for peach filling:

4 large peaches, skinned and pitted - sliced thinly
1/4 c sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbls corn starch
1 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbls water

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Combine peaches, sugar, cinnamon and corn starch in 8 x 8 glass baking dish.
3. Stir in water and lemon juice.
4. Cook for 12 minutes in middle of oven.

Ingredients for topping:

1/3 c. oats
1/3 c. flour
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbls cold butter, cut into small chunks.

1. Combine above ingredients in food processor fitted with blade. Pulse food processor on and off until mixture is "mealy".

2. When peaches come out of oven, sprinkle topping mixture over the peaches.

3. Put back into oven for 25 - 30 minutes, until bubbly and browned.

4. Let cool slightly and serve over delicious vanilla bean ice cream.

Thursday, July 31, 2008


This is a refreshing citrus cocktail for summer. Very easy and VERY yummy!

Ingredients: (Serves 2)

4 oz. Citron Vodka
2 oz. defrosted limeade concentrate
1 oz. orange juice
lime wheel for garnish


Combine vodka, limeade, and orange juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
Shake vigorously.
Pour into two martini glasses. Garnish with lime wheel.
Sit back, relax, and ENJOY!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

BBQ Ribs

Making ribs can be a little intimidating. I know that many people rely on boiling their ribs, prior to bbq'ing. I tried that method one time. To say my ribs were tough would be an understatement. (I'm pretty sure I didn't cook them long enough!) Once I heard someone say that it's better to bake the ribs prior to putting on the grill. So, I tried it. Easy and Delish! Enjoy this recipe - they come out perfect EVERY time!


Slabs of baby back ribs ( I buy them at Costco, where they come three slabs to a pack)
Crushed garlic (you can use fresh, but for convenience, on this recipe I buy it in the jar.)
Sweet Mesquite Rub (also purchased from Costco)**
Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
BBQ Sauce of your choice (my recipe below)
If you prefer to not use a rub, you can use just the seasoning salt and pepper. In this case, I would add a small amt of liquid smoke.

Here's a picture of the prep process ~


Preheat oven to 350°

Line a large shallow pan with aluminum foil. This will help with cleanup. (I use a very large cookie sheet that has 1” sides. A lot of juice will be produced during the cooking process.)

Wash the ribs and pat dry.

Place the ribs in the foil lined pan

Sprinkle the underside of each slab with the seasoning salt and pepper; turn slabs over.

Sprinkle approximately 1 tsp of mesquite onto the ribs and rub into the meat.

Add the minced garlic (about 1 tsp to each slab) to the top side of the ribs and rub in.

Tightly cover the pan with more foil. Place in oven and cook for 2 hours.

Remove ribs from oven. The meat should easily come off the bone.
Place on barbeque grill to brown, coating with bbq sauce of your choice. Make sure to save some sauce to serve with the ribs.

Here's the grilling process ~

BBQ Sauce Recipe

1 bottle of BBQ sauce of your choice (I use Kraft)
Juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup brown sugar
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp seasoning salt
¼ tsp cayenne pepper – use less, or omit, if you don’t like spicy
About 1/2 cup of the juice from the pan of cooked ribs.
Whisk well.
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